Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Letter Re "Google Says It Collected Private Data by Mistake" -- NY Times

We read with great interest Mr. Stone's article regarding Google's
admission that it inadvertently collected private data as part of its
Street View project in Europe. We disagree, however with the
article's condemning tone; Google should be commended for its efforts.
In an age of corporate cover-ups Google's actions stand out: it did
not try to collect private data, it publicly reported the
unintentional collection without prodding, and it is purging
information already collected. Moreover, the information collected
(random bits of unencrypted Internet traffic) is overtly less
problematic than the health or financial records that many already
unashamedly share online. The fact that Google itself was stymied in
dealing with this information underscores how difficult it is to
grapple with private data. It also highlights just how much
technological and legal effort we as a society will have to put into
safeguarding privacy.

Dov Greenbaum, JD MPhil PhD
Mark Gerstein, PhD

Unpublished letter in response to:
Brad Stone's "Google Says It Collected Private Data by Mistake,"
NY Times (5/14/2010)

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